I’ve read that the #1 cause of stress in general is living life outside of your values, and how else to recognize that stress than to first recognize your values?
At my job, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is required reading. Part of that process is to create a personal mission statement. The idea is that any decision, any life goal can be measured against this statement. It’s incredibly powerful and I highly recommend it.
Where to start
- There is a mission statement writing tool out there from Franklin Covey that comes highly recommend to help flesh this out
- One of my favorite inspiration and productivity blogs, Marc and Angel, suggests boiling it down to a single sentence (and has tips on how to do that)
- I used my own approach (see steps below)
- I say, use what works best for you!
The process I used
- Step 1 – Brainstorm – I wrote down everything that I care about on a single piece of paper… and I mean everything. Big things, little things, things are silly or vain, things that are serious – everything. I tried to be as brutally honest with myself as possible – especially when it comes to religion (more about that in this blog post entitled “Belief” if you’re interested). The list was about 50 items long.
- Step 2 – Categorize – In looking at the things on my list, they seemed to fall logically into a few different categories – “In life,” “In love,” “In my career,” etc.
- Step 3 – Refine – Next I combined things to come up with a list of fairly absolute statements. I generalized a lot of things, and wrote out specifics on others. I tried to think in terms of absolutes as much as possible – if my relationship/job/living situation changed drastically, all of these things would still apply. If (heaven forbid) Jason got struck by lightning and I moved to Moscow to join the Popovich family pet circus, I would continue to live my life through these statements.
The result – My Personal Mission Statement:
I will present myself in a way that exudes confidence and spirit.
I will enjoy myself, making the best of every situation.
I will not be complacent. I will take action, even if it is within myself.
I will go with my gut to do the right thing, keeping in mind Reason, Experience, Scripture, and Tradition.
I will love and be loved… and never expect one to come without the other.
I will not settle for anything less than a relationship filled with joy, adventure, respect, and open communication.
I will surround myself with genuine people – who make me laugh.
In my career
My career goal is to enjoy going to work every day, and feel valuable (in compensation, respect, and esteem) doing something I am genuinely passionate about.
I will do my part by identifying and taking opportunities to challenge myself, constantly learning from others, and putting my full spirit and work ethic into my work. I will approach every day with a positive attitude.